This Vicious Grace

Wednesday Bks. (The Last Finestra: Bk. 1). Jun. 2022. 448p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250794055.
Gr 9 Up–Alessa is the Finestra, blessed with saving the people of Saverio. As the chosen one, it is her responsibility to locate her magical counterpart, a Fonte. By absorbing and magnifying the Fonte’s power, the Finestra hopes to defeat the fated purge. Alessa has spent years training for this moment, but there is a problem: she has killed three Fontes already. Her touch so deadly, she is running out of time and options. As Saverio begins to lose hope, Alessa hires Dante, a bodyguard with a rough reputation, to help keep her safe until she can find another partner. While her protector’s secrets are uncovered, Alessa attempts to find herself and her place as the Finestra. Thiede’s world-building is complex and unique, sharing a story full of magic, danger and love. There is little background explanation at the start however, which can leave readers stumbling until they find their footing in the narrative. The slow-burn romance between Alessa and Dante is a focal point, and their banter is fascinating. Each chapter begins with a proverb, a creative way to foreshadow upcoming events. Thiede creates an array of dynamic characters and a suspenseful story that will leave readers ready for the next installment.
VERDICT An Italian-infused debut novel recommended for collections where fantasy is popular.

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